Marawi rehabilitation projects moving at snail’s pace

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MANILA, Philippines – Two years after Marawi City was liberated from the siege that occurred in May 2017, the implementation of the Marawi rehabilitation project is moving at snail’s pace.

Several Party-list lawmakers in the House of Representatives suggested to expand the reach of Task Force Bangon Marawi and enhance its implementing capability.

“Matagal na din po ang two years. Maganda iyong plan, pero ang execution po mabagal. So, dapat iyong stakeholders, which is siguro ang local government ng Marawi at saka ang Bangsamoro Autonomous Region at members ng Regional Development Council, sana mas maraming boses kasi kung national government lang, mostly sa housing department is hindi taga doong area, taga-Luzon at Visayas sila,” Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay (Party-list, DIWA) said.

During the group’s weekly press briefing, Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan (Party-list, AMIN), said the government provided an initial funding of P10 billion for the Marawi rehabilitation.

“But I think, the utilization of the P10 billion is quite slow, if not very slow, even in the implementation. Ang isa ngang katanungan ng ating mga kababayan sa Marawi is why the need to flatten the most affected area in Marawi?” Sangcopan said.

If there are structures that the government intends to put up based on the comprehensive Bangon Marawi Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan, Sangcopan asked “why not only choose the areas that they think they would be needed, those lands for structures that will be constructed. Why flatten the entire 2,000 hectares of the most affected area. Iyan ang mga katanungan,” Sangcopan said.

Based on the budget briefing of the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development (DHSUD), she said out of the 100 percent of residents of the most affected areas, only 55 percent consented that their houses be demolished while 45 percent did not want their houses to be damaged at some extent.

“We’ll be having a dialogue with the DHSUD headed by Secretary Eduardo del Rosario because we really have one question, bakit kailangan i-flatten ang most affected area. Kung ang kakailanganin lang naman nila ay ilang square meters para sa mga structures na bahagi ng kanilang comprehensive plan, why flatten the entire area?,” said Sangcopan.

Rep. Sharon Garin (Party-list AAMBIS OWA) also emphatized with Sangcopan.

“Ako po sumasama kay Congresswoman Sangcopan sa ipinaglalaban niya. But it’s been very, very long years, two years. Bahay nila ito eh, so it’s parang nakakahiya naman and we promised them. At the start, everyone was excited because everybody is pulling in to help, but now it’s been two years. I think we have to move on na kailangan na talagang maayos ito. Amy is very consistent in her fight for this. Kami sa party-list, we are all in support in what she’s been fighting for and it is a very, very noble cause na ipinaglalaban niya,” Garin said.

Four Muslim legislators, including Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman, spearheaded the filing of the Marawi Compensation Bill.

“Kasi kung nakikita namin at hindi pa klaro at sinabi naman ni Secretary Del Rosario nung budget briefing nila last Friday, na the Marawi Compensation Bill will complement whatever plan the Task Force Bangon Marawi would come up, I think it’s not yet finalized even the comprehensive plan,” Sangcopan said.

Right now, she said the total plan for the recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi is pegged at P60 billion.

“Iyong nga po ang tanong namin mula P10 billion bumaba ng P3 billion ng 2019. Ngayon 2020 magkano nga po ba? Iyong P40 billion po na bumaba at that time, akala nila na-finalized na nila iyong kabuuang plano. Pero upon ocular inspection ng Task Force Bangon, there were some factors that they need to consider kaya bumalik po siya sa P60 billion. And we’re still waiting for the final,” she said.

She added: “Ang compensation bill, iyon lang po ang parang nakikita ng ating mga kababayan sa Marawi na pag-asa nila na kahit papaano ma-compensate o magkaroon ng reparation sa naranasan nilang losses sa lives and properties especially in the most affected areas,” said Sangcopan.

Sangcopan said the bill that was filed by Rep. Ansaruddin Abdul Malik Adiong (1st District, Lanao del Sur) proposed a P50 billion fund requirement for the compensation, while the bill filed by Deputy Speaker Hataman and her proposed P30 billion to be charged to the General Appropriations Act (GAA). She said there are differences between the two bills.

Sangcopan said if there is anything that she wanted to seek support from their colleagues, particularly in the Party-list Coalition, it is the Marawi compensation bill to be calendared.

On another issue, Garin said the economic team composed of the House committees on ways and means, banks and financial intermediaries, trade and industry, and economic affairs are trying to fast-track all the legislative priorities of President Rodrigo Duterte and Speaker Alan Peter “Compañero” Cayetano.

On the part of the committee on economic affairs which she chairs, Garin said they tackled already the amendments to the Foreign Investment Act and the Public Service Act which redefines the public utility.

“So, iyong Public Service Act, we approved it in the committee yesterday and then iyong Foreign Investment Act nung Tuesday naman we finished that. So, hopefully we will be in the plenary in one or two weeks,” Garin said.

Meanwhile, Sangcopan said the Amin Party-list was part of different groups which lobbied for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the Islamic Banking Law in the 17th Congress. The Islamic Banking Law was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last week, she said.

Sangcopan expressed gratitude for the passage of Republic Act 11439 which provides for the Islamic Banking frameworks and has included the country among ASEAN countries engaged in dual banking system.

Aglipay cited his advocacies which are labor rights, social justice, public health, livelihood, and anti-corruption practices. He re-filed a bill on the security of tenure and revising the minimum age of criminal liability, particularly for heinous crimes. (Eddie Galvez/IAMIGO/CNS)

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